Performer or Producer?

After reading the CIU blog post for week 2, I pondered their question of “how can you make a living while making creative projects?”

Matt Wallace and I discussing our musical project in his amazing studio (Delux Studio’s, Sound City, LA)

I think it’s completely true that striving artists (and even successful artists) need to have a number of projects and jobs on the go to support themselves finacially. I live out of home with a few friends, one of which is a professional musicain. It has been really interesting discussing the different kinds of projects we’re currently working on, how they came about and what we’re learning from them.

… but history teaches us that, for better or worse, art and business have always been intrinsically combined, often to aid the creation of timeless masterpieces (Piazza, n.d.).

Being self-employed and working in a creative industry is a completely different lifestyle to a full-time “9–5” position. I’m glad to have experienced both, having worked a couple of years full-time at a mining company. I learned a lot during this experience and — even thought I definitely prefer being in a creative industry — I wouldn’t have been able to achieve a number of things musically without what I learned during my time at full-time work (ecpicially starting and running a business!) AND I wouldn’t have been able to travel across the waters to wonderful musical lands without that job! Sometimes I miss the comfort of pay-day, the knowledge of having much of the dollar bills trickling into my account on a regular (and reliable) basis. Then I’m reminded that I’m doing what I love (and so I’ll never have to work a day in my life, right!? Ha!)

I read a research project that included the graph below (I’m a visual learner so this made a lot more sense to me than the actual article itself). These results were from a ‘diverse set of US-based musicains’ (Thomson, Cook, & Jean, 2011) about their different revunue streams. It was interesting reveiwing these percentages. It would be intersting to know what the difference would be in Australia (especially in Perth) compared to the US.

(Page 98. Thomson, Cook, & Jean, 2011)

Obviously this graph is missing a lot of potential options for revenue. Even a quick read through this list made me think about the numerous directions muscians can persue (newartistmodel, 2010).

Before starting full-time studies, I was previously teaching most days and gigging at night. I no longer teach and hardly play any gigs, but I’m running a music school and church music teams during more student/study-friendly hours. Again, music and business being combined in my life. Each time I converse with a fellow artist (specifically musicians), I’m amazed at the variety of different kinds of work each person is involved in within the industry.

I’m starting to become more intentional about thinking of myself as a producer and audio person, rather than just a performer. Although the two are related and often intertwined, they are still very different. I have a lot to learn and a long way to go with my audio knowledge and experience. I guess the knowledge will come from new experiences, which I’m going through everyday at SAE. Even though we all know one can always learn more, I’m looking forward to being able to confidently say that I’m a performer AND producer.

My little home set-up!


Atlas. (2016, February 22). APRA AMCOS Australia. Retrieved March 2, 2016, from

Piazza, J. From Virgil to Beyoncé: 5 great moments of artistic patronage. Retrieved March 2, 2016, fromé-5-great-moments-artistic-patronage

SAE_CIU_OverviewofIndustry, & Institute, S. C. (2015, February 16). Week 2: Your income & your art — self-directed practitioners. Retrieved March 2, 2016, from

Thomson, K., Cook, J., & Jean. (2011). ARTIST REVENUE sTREaMS: A mUlTI-mETHod rESEaRCH pRojECT eXaMINING cHaNGES IN mUSICIaNS’ soURCES of iNCoME “ by. Retrieved from

newartistmodel. (2010, January 18). Income streams for musicians. Retrieved March 2, 2016, from Music Creation,